In my country the movie’s name is Vaiana, but in the rest of the world it is known as Moana. So let’s go with that. Yesterday I went to see it. Because the film received so much praise and already performed better than Frozen, that meant I definitely had to see it. And I wasn’t the only one. The room was packed with adults who were mesmerized by the latest addition to the Disney family. We laughed and we cried and it is obvious Disney knows exactly what they are doing.
The ‘strong woman doesn’t need a man’ formula worked in Frozen. Disney applied it once again in Moana, and while some critics may claim this is a bad thing, I disagree. In the world we live in today, there cannot be enough ways to show girls that they matter too. That they are strong and can make a change. Moana conveys this message even more so than Frozen did, which is a good thing.
Te Fiti’s Heart
Without giving away too much of the plot, it basically revolves around the story of Te Fiti, who created life and whose heart was stolen by the demi-god Maui. This caused darkness to spread across the sea and the islands, and Maui to lose his magical fishing hook (with which he can shapeshift) and the heart of Te Fiti which fell into the ocean. This story is told by the chief’s mother and while it scared other kids, the little girl named Moana was fascinated. When nobody paid attention to her, she wandered to the sea where the ocean chose her to find Maui and have him restore the heart of Te Fiti.
Moana grows up but is forbidden to go beyond the reef and her father is tired of her longing to go to the sea. But when the island is affected by darkness, threatening the lives of the villagers, Moana is left with no choice. She receives Te Fiti’s heart from her grandmother and she sets sail to find Maui, which is not an easy task.
Moana is a rolemodel
Before we begin to discuss the story, I would like to comment on the visuals. These are absolutely stunning. The looks of each character has the same style as the Frozen characters, which makes it feel very familiar but in a good way. The ocean seems real and the army of animators just did a fantastic job on this film. Also, I think it is great that Disney chose to make a film about a girl like Moana. Especially for coloured girls, she can be a great rolemodel.
The story was well-written and well-paced. There wasn’t a single moment where I felt like they dragged the tale, even though it was almost two hours long. The songs were very catchy. But the film doesn’t contain a song that will potentially be as big as Let It Go. Also, there weren’t too many songs, which I also quite liked. Because despite my entire life being a musical, I prefer my films to consist mostly of dialogue and action and not just songs. Although there was a song about being shiny that spoke to me on a spiritual level.
Strong Female Character
There were some incredibly touching moments in the film which genuinely made me tear up; but that could also be because I am an emotional wreck right now. Furthermore, the film boasted quite a lot of jokes and also managed to ridicule the Disney formula during some jokes. That shows that at least Disney can laugh about themselves. The chicken HeiHei did steal the show though, as his dumb antics gathered most laughs. Also, Dwayne Johnson’s (Maui) comedic timing is on point. Kudos to him.
All in all, Moana is the story of a brave girl who followed her heart instead of becoming what was expected of her. We needed a strong female character like her and we got her. Hopefully Disney will continue this trend in the future.